Monday, 14 July 2014

The Neon Poetry Project

Hello and welcome to the 2014 edition of MS be Shaven.

If you’ve visited this blog in the past, you might notice that all the previous posts are missing. Don’t worry! The archives are still available*, but the 2014 edition of MS be Shaven is coming to you on a clean slate, a tabula rasa, a blank screen.

First, the basics for 2014.

The Neon Riders were founded in Fredericton in 2011, but the group has since dispersed to various parts of the country. Neon Riders now live in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, and points between. Those who are able make the pilgrimage to Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley each summer, collect pledges, and ride in support of the MS Society. We also have a ludicrous amount of fun.

Our team captain, my girlfriend Beth Button, has MS, and she’s been involved with the MS Society since just after she was diagnosed in 2006. She gets excellent care and support, and friends and family have been wonderfully encouraging over the years both through the MS Walk and the MS Bike Tour. We see this event as a celebration of the lives and abilities of people with MS and of the dedication of those who support them.

If you’re interested in what the MS Society has been up to lately, you should check out their Action on MS campaign. They’ve put together some compelling statistics and are using them to make the case for better workplace and home support for people with MS and their caregivers. In addition to this much-needed advocacy, they fund ongoing research toward a cure. Beth and I keep a close eye on what this charity is up to, and we can both say with confidence that they’ve been doing excellent work.

Now, for the moment you didn't know you were waiting for. The Neon Poetry Project!

I’m now taking pledges for the upcoming bike tour on July 26th and 27th, and I’d be pleased as punch if I could raise $500. I hope you would be too. My promise to you is that if you donate at my pledge page you will have the opportunity to read a poem a day, mostly on the topic of bicycle cycling, mostly containing terrible puns, from now until the day of the tour. To be honest, even if you don't donate, you'll still have the opportunity to read the poems**.

Listen, Internet, you just gave a guy over $70,000 to make himself some potato salad. I’m giving you free poetry for a worthy cause.

So, here goes. The MS Bike Tour Neon Poetry Project, Day 1! With apologies to Homer.***

Invocation of the Neon Muses

Sing to me of the Neon Riders, muse,
of the twists and turns of the potholed road,
of disco Elvis keeping them on course,
of plundering the hallowed rest stops
for granola bars and cheese and precious gatorade.
Many pains they suffered, saddle sore on the open road,
pedalling hard to bring their comrades home.
A the finish, the hungry riders devoured 
the tasty hamburgers (or vegetarian alternatives) of the Sungod
and the Sungod gave them sunburns on the day of their return.
Launch out on this story, muse, daughter of Zeus,
start from Windsor—sing for our time too.

*To request a hard copy of the blog archives, please attach your request to the downtube of a Trek Superfly 29er and mail it to me with adequate postage. Make sure you indicate the font size you would like.

**There's no point in trying to fight the tide of rampant poetry sharing. The poetry market collapsed shortly after everyone started sharing poetry on Napster.

*** The Homer of Oh!-dysseus not Doh!-ysseus.